Skip to main content


Birthright Israel offers free life-challenging trips to Israel to young Jewish adults (ages of 18 to 26) around the world. Their mission is to give these young adults, especially the unaffiliated, the opportunity to visit Israel. Birthright Israel is the largest educational tourism organization in the world.   []

Last December, my 3rd child, Jonathon, was given the opportunity to be experience and discover Israel in 11 days through the Birthright program.

He was the first one in our family to visit Israel.  Together with his grandparents, my husband and I were excited to get his daily updates. We couldn’t wait to see the photographs from his trip, and hear his stories.

On the first day, he walked through the streets of Jerusalem.  We asked him to say prayer at the Wailing Wall.  He celebrated Shabbat with friends new and old.

The trip included a visit to Rabin Square, the plaza where Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, and lectures about the peace process and various social justice and human rights issues; Independence Hall, where the state of Israel was declared; Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum and memorial; Beit Guvrin, a national park in central Israel; and a jeep ride in the Northern Israel near the border of Syria.

My son and his peers rode camels, hiked up Masada, floated in the Dead Sea, and walked through the desert under the stars.

His experience made us want to visit Israel, as soon as feasible.

I asked my son to share his thoughts about the trip and this is what he wrote,

This past winter break, in my final year of college, I decided to go to Israel as a part of a Columbia University Birthright trip.  It was an incredible opportunity to connect with my Jewish ancestry and learn about a part of the world whose history is rich with thousands of years of conflict, cultural change and religious significance.  As a very nominal Jew, the word Birthright was somewhat problematic for me - after all, what claim to that land could someone like me have?  That's why I prefer the alternative name, "Taglit," which translated from Hebrew means "discovery."

Traveling to Israel was a fascinating and challenging process of discovery through which I learned about my own Jewish identity as well as the role of the land itself in shaping that identity.  I am sure that it will continue to be an experience I think pensively on for years to come, and fortunately I can do so with a number of good, newfound friends.

Enjoy some of the pictures he took from his trip. 

To the Birthright Israel, thank you.

Photos taken with an iPhone 5.


Popular posts from this blog

Completed my first 16 Week IsaBody Challenge: Believe You Have A Purpose

My family is what matters most to me.  I’m 51 and a mother of 4 (ages 14 – 26). I wanted to be healthier, more active and stronger not just for me, but for the people I love.  I wanted to set an example for my family that we each possess the tools to master our wellness and vitality. I've always been petite except when I was pregnant ( when I gained an average of 50 pounds per pregnancy - 4 times!) Over the years I had tried various diet and exercise regimens, and I did enjoy a degree of success, but the results were not to the level I hoped for, and they were somewhat short lived.   Achieving stable, long-lasting results proved stubbornly elusive.    Then when I hit menopause everything became more difficult.    My body stopped cooperating altogether, and I was constantly grumpy. My waist and hips expanded and I found myself napping in the afternoons.    I started to accept the idea that there would be this new, less vibrant version of me. I just completed my P

SPICE-up a young child's development: social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional

Children are the precious gems of a family. When they’re young and innocent, they are like sponges that willingly and quickly absorb any knowledge and emotion. That’s why at an early age, we encourage our children to read, be creative, be happy and feed their curiosity. With all the technology and instant gratification that children get from playing video or computer games, asking a child to read a good book has been a challenge for some parents .     “Your children are not your children.       They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.       They come through you but not from you,       And though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.       You may give them your love but not your thoughts,        For they have their own thoughts.        You may house their bodies but not their souls,        For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,        which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.” -                     Kahlil Gibr

Immigration and Family: Will my mom ever get to see my daughter walk down the aisle

Last year when my father passed away in the Philippines, I went home and took some time to visit the U.S. Embassy in Manila to ask what the options are for my mother to return to the U.S. The consul reminded me of the 10-year travel ban. That on or after November 8, 2015 — not earlier – or 10 years after my mom, was deported in 2005 for overstaying her visa, I can email the U.S. Embassy and inquire about my mother’s approved petition. I asked if I need to file another petition, and she informed me I didn’t have to. I asked if I could… and she stopped me and said to ask everything on or after November 8, 2015. This is where I am, and where my thoughts are drifting as I celebrate this month my 16th American birthday. I am counting the months, the weeks and the days. My daughter is getting married in January 2016 and I would love to have my entire family, especially my mother, to be here when that momentous occasion happens.

Helping others surpass their goals and expectations

"It's not about the end goal. It's who you become by consistently pushing to the edge of your limits." - Robin Sharma Do you ever wonder why you stumble on new things?  Do you ever wonder why unsuspecting strangers cross your path? Do you ever wonder why your mind takes you to a direction you didn't think exist? I was walking to StarBucks to meet my husband when I noticed a sign...

Still shaky, skidded in snow, but so blessed my guardian angels are looking after me!

"Never again wonder, what to be thankful for..."   - Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life It’s yet another snowy day in New Jersey. Beautiful, yes but dangerous! In line with my goal for this month is to get back on schedule. I got up around 4am to get my 15yo ready for his Model United Nations conference. (Thankful that our neighbor offered to drive him to school by 5:30am ) I got my 9yo ready for school and I'm thankful that my other neighbor offered to drive him to school. I then drove my husband to the train station to Manhattan. I decided to stop by the Community Center and decided to run a fast 5K on the treadmill. I was 1 mile short because I was so sweaty and hot. (Note to self: dress lightly next time) While cooling down inside the car, I read Day 14’s chapter of Rick Warren's the “Purpose Driven Life” book. I felt really good because it just reminded me that there is always something to be thankful for no matter how awful yo